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Spotlight: Bullet For My Valentine

June 7, 2016

 

In May, we had the incredible honor of covering Bullet For My Valentine at both a headlining gig in Niagara Falls, NY as well as exclusive stage access to their performance on the main stage at Rock on the Range.  Needless to say, we've got plenty of coverage for you from both events!

 

Having seen Bullet For My Valentine tour just about every album since their debut in 2006, it was thrilling to finally be able to cover a show and try and capture some of that energy to show the world what keeps me coming back time after time.  Fortunately, the band made this feat fairly easy to accomplish. 

 

Coverage began with a May 9th show in Niagara Falls, NY at the Rapids Theatre.  We were lucky enough to get a few minutes to sit down with singer Matt Tuck as well before the show and discuss the current touring cycle, the latest album, the addition of Jamie Mathias to the band last year and a few other interesting notes to keep an eye out for coming up. 

Fans Jose Fernando Ochoa Coello and Camila Guerrero travelled from Chili to the US to follow Bullet For My Valentine on tour for over a week!

 

I ran into some incredibly dedicated fans on the rail from Chili, who had travelled to the US to follow 9 days of shows from Bullet For My Valentine and Lamb of God (on alternating nights) as their vacation this spring.  When I asked Camila how she got into Bullet, she told me "I got into BFMV because of Metallica, actually." and proceeded to tell me how she caught 5 Metallica shows in Australia back in 2013 and happened to catch Bullet on the Brisbane date and has been a huge fan ever since.  Camila went on to describe her first Bullet show "When they came out they had a huge backdrop with two bloody hands promoting their latest album that was Temper Temper, and then Matt came out walking slowly and started "Breaking Point" with one hell of a scream, I was stoked, I was really paying attention to their music and how they perform live and I gotta say that I fell in love with them from that very first day."  Clearly, this band creates a deep devotion in their fan base. 

 

As for the show itself, we got a hefty dose from Bullet this evening.  From the opening tape of "V" the instrumental into off the latest album, Venom, to the immediate segue into "No Way Out," the crowd in Niagara Falls was in full force.  This is a give and take experience, and those in attendance made it clear they were here to work, too.  They next jumped back to Fever album opener "Your Betrayal" before drawing pulling out their first classic of the night "4 Words (To Choke Upon)." 

 

Watching Bullet For My Valentine perform on stage is somewhat of a unique experience.  Each member shows up to work, every single night.  Matt Tuck consistently delivers a focused passionate vocal performance while providing rhythm guitar work and very little time for play.  Meanwhile, Padge (Michael Paget) provides mind blowing lead's while playing with the crowd every chance he can in a way that is reminiscent of Iron Maiden's Dave Murray.  Meanwhile, Jamie knows every ounce of effort that his nightly screams require, and he makes sure the audience is never confused as to where those vocals are coming from!

 

One major note for me, (even though I had attended a Bullet show last year on the Summer's Last Stand tour with Slipknot, Lambo of God and Motionless in White) was seeing how the addition of bassist Jamie Mathias would stack up.  For the entirety of the bands catalogue, previous bass player Jay James had always provided a staple sound to the band with his backing vocals.  With all due respect to Jay's contributions, that concern was quickly laid to rest.  Jamie belongs in this band, and I'm eager to see what future song writing may look like with him in the picture. 

 

Additionally, this tour features drummer Jason Bowld (of AxeWound) filling in for Moose (Michael Thomas) during the birth of his child.  To that end, Jason did an exceptional job keeping the machine gun drums going all night. 

 

The band continued to tear through selections of their catalogue, with the most  glaring omission being anything from their previous album, Temper Temper.  The high point of the evening was when "Tears Don't Fall" kicked off the encore.  Like any crowd, largely consisting of veteran fans of the band as well as new recruits, this was the moment that everyone came together in one voice.  Not to be outdone, the evening came to a close with a thunderous rendition of "Waking the Demon," delivered with the kind of energy that says "We'll be back, we're not done with you!"  

 

Setlist: Niagara Falls, NY - May 9th, 2016

1. No Way Out

2. Your Betrayal

3. 4 Words (To Choke Upon)

4. You Want a Battle? (Here's a War)

5. The Last Fight

6. Drum Solo

7. Raising Hell

8. Scream Aim Fire

9. Venom

10. The Poison

11. Alone

12. Worthless

13. Hand of Blood

 

Encore

14. Tears Don't Fall

15. Waking the Demon

 

 

Interview - Matt Tuck (lead singer/rhythm guitar) Bullet For My Valentine:  - Niagara Falls, NY

 

 

Next up for our coverage was Rock on the Range.  Rock on the Range is a three day music festival held at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  2016 marks the 10th year of RotR and in keeping with recent trends, has sold out faster this year than any year prior.  Currently, this is the largest rock festival in the country (although Caroline Rebellion has grown to a three day festival as well).  I highly suggest a trip to Columbus next May for any metal fans looking for a mini-vacation and a good solid fix of music. 

 

Bullet For My Valentine are regular mainstays in the US festival circuit, generally finding a place on the lineup every two to three years.  This year, Bullet enjoyed a great mid-afternoon slot on the main stage, where they captivated tens of thousands of fans who had gathered for a weekend of heavy metal.

 

The show started with just as much fury as the bring to their headline shows as they opened with "No Way Out" again.  The remaining first half of their shortened eight song set was identical to their full set list.  Half way through is where they began to mix it up with the biggest punches from the remaining selections to deliver as much as possible in the forty minute slot they were allotted.  As they moved through a ferocious selection of catalog highlights, they finished with the same 1-2 punch delivered in the clubs with "Tears Don't Fall" and "Waking the Demon." 

 

One observation from large music festivals is that some music translates very well to stadium shows, while other music simply doesn't.  Fans are often seeing a band for the first time and have no idea what to expect.  For that reason, stage presence as well as set list selection can be extremely important.  In the case of Bullet For My Valentine, more is definitely better.  They command the stage as though they play in front of forty thousand people every night. 

 

They guys had once again laid waste to all in attendance with an all-too-short but sweet set of highlights. 

This, being the only downside to a large production like Rock on the Range.  When your favorite bands play, you're only getting a taste of what you like.  All the more reason go out and catch a headline gig when they come through your town! 

 

Setlist: Rock on the Range - May 20th, 2016

 

1. No Way Out

2. Your Betrayal

3. 4 Words (To Choke Upon)

4. You Want a Battle? (Here's a War)

5. Raising Hell

6. Scream Aim Fire

7. Tears Don't Fall

8. Waking the Demon

 

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Alive N Loud, Charlie Meister

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